The seasons changed and harvest time is among us. Now is the time when fall pickings are at their ripest and farmers are trying to sell their wares while they’re fresh.

Unfortunately, with the weather getting colder, it may be approaching the end for some seasonal farmer’s markets, so get to them while you can.

There are many benefits to shopping at local farmer’s markets. For one, you know you’re supporting local fare and community members.

According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, there are many ways shopping locally better serves your community including better community well-being, better jobs and wages, and environmental sustainability.

When you first move into a new community, trying to connect yourself can be a challenge. Farmer’s markets, believe it or not, are a great place to start. You’ll get a taste (literally) of the local culture and have the potential to form relationships with people you often buy from (your “garlic guy” or “that lady with the pink hair who makes the best bread,” though eventually you should learn their real names).

At farmer’s markets you may also see local performance artists, whose other gigs can create places to get out and go on Friday nights.

Better jobs and wages are always a good plus to shopping locally. While we don’t have time to go into a rant about big box stores, there is something quaint and enchanting about going into a one-of-a-kind shop in your town. Exposure to your local small-business people at the farmer’s market can help you build a relationship with these people and may even give you opportunities for volunteer work or even a part-time job.

READ MORE  Let's volunteer: 7 ways to give back this May

Going to and participating in farmer’s markets also promotes environmental sustainability in your community. Buying fresh from farmers means less preservatives and less time that your food is stuck in a truck being carted around the country.

You could also learn how to grow your own garden. Find out how you can rent a patch in your local community garden or even grow herbs and small plants in your apartment (or in your yard if you have a full yard).

Farmer’s markets are a great way to connect with your new community and establish yourself. You can make connections with those in your neighborhood and even learn how to plant a garden of your own. Buying local is always a good idea, and a farmer’s market is a great place to start.